Three PwC staff leave firm after ‘rating women’ scandal

“We want our firm to be a place where every person feels safe to ask questions, raise concerns and trust that issues will be followed up and handled appropriately,” Mr Gregory said.

“I want to strongly emphasize that we all have a part to play in this and we continue to encourage all our partners and staff to call out any unacceptable behavior you see or experience through our ‘Speak Up’ program.”

The partner and staff members were accused of taking part in an annual men-only gathering referred to internally as the “Section 5-5” event.

During the events, which were revealed by The Australian Financial Review earlier this month, the men involved would allegedly rate the five most attractive women in the firm, according to the complaint.

Women at the office were unaware of the dinners, where male attendees prepared a list of their female colleagues they thought were the most attractive. There were allegedly half-a-dozen men involved in each event in 2019 and 2020.

The now-former partner also allegedly made threats of assault during a phone call to a former staff member and then repeatedly redialed the number after the call ended and attended a strip club with PwC personnel, including graduates.

On Wednesday, Mr Gregory held a meeting for staff who had worked with the now former partner and staff members asking for anyone with further information about the allegations to come forward.

The leadership of the firm had been particularly concerned that bystanders who knew about the alleged behavior had not spoken out. Mr. Gregory’s quick action in the matter is designed to alleviate this issue by breaking down the reluctance of staff to report allegations of misconduct.

Last September, two PwC human resources senior staff left the firm over allegedly racist behavior after one mocked Chinese accents and another dressed up as “a bat from Wuhan” at a firm trivia event.

Partners were also fined over that incident, which split staff over the prevalence of racism and discrimination within the firm.

At rival firm KPMG, staff were dismissed after they attended annual “boys’ night out” events that featured binge-drinking and other “f—ed up” behavior, such as hiring strippers who were allegedly expensed to the firm.

During the past year, PwC, along with rival big-four consulting firms Deloitte, EY and KPMG, started providing data about the level of workplace complaints.

Deloitte, which reports earlier than the other firms, investigated 145 misconduct allegations during the 2022 financial year and found more than half, or 80, were substantiated, leading to 20 employees being “exited” from the consulting firm.

In FY21, EY conducted 12 formal workplace investigations and fully or partially substantiated six complaints of sexual harassment and bullying, KPMG substantiated 27 complaints of workplace misconductwhile PwC reviewed 13 complaints but did not disclose the outcome of these cases.

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